Radon-Induced Lung Cancer: Gail’s Journey

Radon Induced Lung Cancer Blog Link

Recording provided by: Energy Association of Iowa Schools

Radon is a very serious problem but has a very simple solution. And that is just to test and mitigate.

My name’s Gail Orcutt and I was an Iowa teacher for 33 years. Two years after I retired, I had a cough and a wheeze. (I) went to my family physician, he listened to my lungs and he said “Something doesn’t sound right.”

It’s lung cancer.

And the day before my 57th birthday I was told, “It’s lung cancer.”


I’ve never smoked a day in my life. Where was this coming from?

My lung was removed, and then we did chemo(therapy). I always say, “Just for fun.” It wasn’t fun at all. It was pretty rugged.

I was home recovering and read an article title “Lung Cancer in Non-Smokers.” It was all about radon, and honest to goodness that was the first time I’d ever encountered the word.

Radon gas travels through our Earth’s soil. It becomes dangerous if trapped indoors, decays, and is breathed into lungs. Radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer among non-smokers.

I’m living with lung cancer as a chronic disease.

Gail’s Journey


  • Lung cancer: Removal of left lung and chemotherapy
  • Lung cancer spreading to hip: radiation
  • Coming back to hip: Targeted chemo and hip replacement
  • Recurrence in lymph nodes: 2nd targeted chemo

Gail’s Journey has always included being a true educator. Through it all, she has taught the public about radon and advocated for its testing and mitigation to prevent lung cancer.

Radon is a very serious problem but has a very simple solution. And that is just to test and mitigate.

We are going to be preventing lung cancer in years and decades to come.

For almost 10 years, Gail Orcutt has been working tirelessly to keep others from having to travel the rugged radon-induced lung cancer journey.

Homeowners and businesses: Contact your local county department or public health or order test kits at https://www.radon.com.

Schools: Find training, support and grands at https://energyais.org/radon.